Importance of Play in Childhood Development

The importance of play in childhood development both in the physical, cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional development of children cannot be overemphasized. Playing, like learning, is a basic need of life that goes on from birth all through to death. The only difference is the way of playing which may vary depending on age and many other variables. Children, especially at their development period learn behaviors, information and coping skills necessary for life from plays. The bulk of children’s personalities are built during this period. Through play, children learn to form and build relationships with people. They also learn to perceive, adapt and form lasting habits that would translate to adult roles. This clearly pictures the role of play in childhood development.

Why Children Must Play

Plays are natural instinctive activities that occur without much external effects and pressures. Hence, they develop concepts, social awareness and social behaviors through play. Play helps children increase coordination and balance. It also helps develop their psychomotor skills and abilities by increasing strength, flexibility and agility. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers

Through play, children learn to discover and find opportunities to keep themselves away from their fears, anxiety, and aggressiveness. It also functions as a means of encouraging social behavior. Plays also tend to shape gender roles in children. Girls tend to be more superior to boys in skills requiring coordination, flexibility, and balance. This is because of the type of play girls are involved in such as rope skipping.


Skills such as walking, talking, writing and many more are often acquired in childhood through play. This is where toys often come in. For instance, there are toys that teach students how to identify colors through play. Plays are natural ways by which children build and improve their social and cognitive skills. No matter how simple a play may look, it has a profound impact on children.

Plays serve as means of building communication skills. Through play, they learn to comply with the rules and regulations of the group. This serves as a foundation for building skills that will help them in relating to people and harmonizing with their environment. Cognitive abilities like decision making on the spot, memory usage, observation skills, analytical and problem-solving skills, and creative thinking are all built through play.

According to, play activities may be considered as starting from the reading-writing process as kids play with different toys. After many studies, it was revealed that plays and toys are very beneficial in developing productive thinking. A free environment for play influences children’s mental development. When a problem arises between children in plays and such problems are solved among themselves, it enhances children’s capability for problem-solving, thus, helping their mental development.

In summary, in the words of Montessori (1870 – 1952), play is the child’s major work.  He further stated that children must be given the opportunity to choose by themselves the kind of play they want and that they could perform plays with education materials to learn.

Resources to Help Children Play Safe

Having understood the great importance and role of play in childhood development, parents must provide adequate resources and equipment to ensure that they are safe while playing. Working moms, for instance, must provide indoor playpens for their kids.

According to, a playpen is a piece of furniture in which an infant or young toddler (typically those less than 35 inches (89 cm) tall and 30 pounds (14kg) is placed to prevent self-harm when parents are occupied or away. Playpens, also called playfield are essential equipment and a must-have at home especially in this 21st century where parents are super busy. A typical playpen should be portable and also foldable. It is often made of metal and plastic support system and a mesh. It may sometimes have a removable bassinet that can be attached at the top. There is the need for proper inspection of a playpen before being used, because an unsafe playpen may collapse which could result in a home accident.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Playpen

  • Size and weight of the baby
  • Age of the baby
  • Railings and floor make-up of the playpen
  • Size of enclosed space
  • Portability, i.e. is it foldable?
  • How user-friendly is it?
  • Safety
  • Your budget
  • Weight of the playpen
  • Climb ability and scalability. (Can it be easily climbed or scaled by babies?)
  • Does it have wheels? (for easy movement)

Physical benefits and Role of Early Childhood Playtime

  • It helps build and develop children emotional life
  • Children build themselves physically through play.
  • It aids in language development
  • Children build their cognitive domain through play
  • Children develop healthy social lives through play

2 Replies to “Importance of Play in Childhood Development”

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